From time to time I will be offering advice from OTHER industry experts on issues that are on the minds of actors.
This first question I posed to the founder of Abundance Bound on behalf of one of my students. I wanted to know:
Is there a resource/website I can direct one of my actors to regarding taxes? He worked this year as an actor but did not make any income on these gigs (everything was non-paid), but he had expenses over $10,000 for his career. His accountant told him that he could not write any of these expenses off because he did not make any money as an actor, but I have been told otherwise by several tax attorneys. What’s the scoop?
Here is what Miata Edoga, from Abundance Bound, had to say:
It is hugely important as actors that we utilize accountants to assist with tax planning and tax preparation who have detailed knowledge of the tax code as it relates to the business of acting. There are a number of accountants who specialize in preparing taxes for individuals in the Entertainment industry. Often (as I believe would be the case with this actor) utilizing entertainment experts will result in enormous tax savings!
Actors can begin by visiting http://www.chucksloan.com where you will find a great deal of completely free information that can provide guidance with regards to the ins and outs of allowable deductions on the actor’s tax return. The fact that this particular individual did not earn as an actor this year DOES NOT automatically mean he cannot take the write offs. Presumably he earned income from another source and as long as he is prepared to prove that he was still engaged in the growth of his acting business, many of the deductions should still be allowed. However, his method of record keeping and business structure is hugely important because he will be at high risk for an audit.
Any actor who also wants to learn the exact steps they should take immediately with their financial record keeping to clearly establish the legitimacy of their artistic business in the eyes of the IRS, can check out Artist’s Prosperity 101 at http://snipurl.com/actorsenterprise101
This is an extremely inexpensive, step by step program that will guide you through the exact systems you must put in place to ensure you are completely financially organized as an actor. This can literally result in saving thousands of dollars each year!
P.S. Any actor who decides to purchase Artist’s Prosperity 101 should enter the code TAE101 to get $15 off!
The bottom line: If you think something sounds off... ask someone! There are lots of resources for actors, and it just takes a little bit of digging to find an answer. Come to me if you have trouble finding what you need. And, who knows, perhaps I can get you a discount in the process!
Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.